True Blood review – 5×11: ‘Sunset’

Courtesy of HBO via MyNerdBlog

It’s a race to the finish for True Blood: with only two episodes remaining, the death toll is really starting to ratchet-up.

Let’s bitch it out…In this penultimate episode, I can honestly say that the end of S5 is shaping up to go nowhere near where I thought it was going. When Bill (Stephen Moyer) announced his plan to destroy the TrueBlood factories back in 5×08 ‘Somebody That I Used To Know‘, I thought that the finale would focus on the effects of a world ravaged by desperate, rabid vampires. To a certain extent this is still occurring, most notably in Alcide’s (Joe Maganiello) storyline, as well as the periphery of the Fangtasia storyline with Pam (Kristin Bauer) and Tara (Rutina Wesley), and in the contrast between an empty Merlotte’s at night and the packed daytime lunch crowd. But the battle between humans and vampires in the wake of the True Blood shortage is not the central focus that I thought it would be. Instead the show has divided into two different wars heading into the final hour of the season: 1) Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) vs the Faeries and 2) the Authority vs themselves.

Let’s tackle the latter first. The madness overtaking the remaining members of the Authority has been acceptably strange (although I still don’t think it really justified the snail’s pace with which the story unfolded in the first eight episodes). It’s been several episodes since Bill’s religious conversion to the Book of Lilith and I’ve wasted far too many neurons debating whether he was faking it or truly indoctrinated. Bringing Jessica to the concrete compound aka Authority headquarters last week made it pretty clear, and his coo-coo for cocoa puffs state of mind is further cemented tonight as he falls further under the influence of Lilith’s blood.  It’s somewhat satisfying then to see that his hallucinations of the goddess aren’t specific to him; in fact everyone who sampled the blood is having them (way to make nobody feel special, there, bloody naked beyotch). Whether the group’s visions are a result of ingesting Lilith’s blood, their “nesting” behaviour or a combination of both is uncertain, but the level of vamp-on-vamp violence is sure to increase in the finale now that Salome (Valentina Cervi) got the vision suggesting she’s the only one who can lead the group. It should be fun to watch she and Bill have a smackdown.

Meanwhile it appears that Godric’s “death” last week did have the desired impact on Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) and Nora (Lucy Griffiths) after all. The step-siblings hatch a plan (while getting incestuously bizay, naturally) and – under the guise of silencing the US army following the death of General Cavanaugh – bust out of Authority headquarters. Who knows what their plan is, but now that Pam has been arrested by Chancellor “Barb from Cougar Town” (Carolyn Hennesy) for killing Elijah – one of Barb’s 204 progeny – Eric will clearly need to return to the compound, rescue her and deal with Bill.

Let’s double-back to the other big conflict development, which sees Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Jason (Ryan Kwanten) battle their own threat as Russell bears down on them looking for Faerie blood. In an effort to combat the oncoming threat, Sookie and the Faeries call upon one of the more interesting characters in recent True Blood memory: the Elder Fae (Erica Gimpel) who exists in many plains at once and has an overwhelming amount of information bouncing around in her noggin. I loved the kooky take on the character, who dances, asks random questions about musicians (including Ke$ha, John Mellancamp and Boyz2Men). So yeah, she pretty much steals  the show. Obviously she has to die then! It’s beyond frustrating to watch Russell drain her dry while all the other p*ssy Faeries stand inside their big top Faerie tent and watch. Newsflash kids, if all thirty of you had just zapped Russell, he would have been toast. Instead we end with a cliffhanger as Russell now has access to the Faerie breakfast buffet. Well done, dumba*ses…

Courtesy of HBO via ForeverAFanGirl

Other Observations:

  • All in all, ‘Sunset’ is a pretty bloody episode. I counted eight deaths: four guards, two Baby Vamps, Chancellor “Doctore” (see you, Peter Mensah!)  and the Elder Fae. Apparently it’s a bad career move to go into vampire security. Hope they’ve got good on-the-job-death benefit packages
  • It’s also a bad week to be Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll): in her desperation to get word to Jason that he and Sookie are in danger, she raises the alert – and ire – of Bill. He nearly makes her kill Jason and then smacks her around a bit when she chooses the human over her fellow vampires. On the plus side, ginger b*tch gets to make up with Tara and spend some quality time in a ditch with Jason. I like the emotional moment when Jess admits that if she had to spend an eternity with someone, it would be him
  • Speaking of Tara, it’s nice to have a quick shout-out to her bisexuality (which has gone unaddressed since early S4). I’m not really sure I saw the connection with Pam until Jess inquires if Tara is interested, but considering how awesome Pam and Tara already are, I’d be totally down with these two hooking up. Wait…crap, is that more incest?! Oh, True Blood
  • I’m sure some will complain about Andy’s (Chris Bauer) typical relationship scenes with Holly (Lauren Bowles) and her sons, but I think they’re sweet. Plus it helps set the stage for the unhappy reunion he has with Maurella (Kristina Anapau) when she shows up to call in his pledge to protect her. I’m less excited by the thought of a human vs Faerie war when she infers that his refusal to help is tantamount to war. Know when to quit while you’re kindasorta balancing your storylines, True Blood
  • Considering the format of True Blood, it’s helpful to have characters remind us how much time has passed, such as when Andy confronts Maurella about their hook-up and her pregnancy since it’s only been a week. Of course, for viewers it’s been quite a bit longer: we saw them make nookie waaaay back in the season finale of S4 (Correction: Rodney pointed out in the comments that Andy and Jason visited the Faeries earlier this season).
  • Sam (Sam Trammell) and cuss-face sneak into the concrete compound to save Emma and blah blah blah. Not interested, except that Sam is in a lot more danger than he knows if he thinks that he can call on Bill’s kindness to help get them out of there alive. Bill isn’t exactly charitable these days so the shifter may be in some trouble
  • Finally, the summer of bada*s crossbow action continues (Brave, The Hunger Games, Teen Wolf) as Alcide’s dad, Jackson (Robert Patrick) saves his hide with a well-placed arrow. Anyone else feeling like they should grab a bow?

Best Lines:

  • Barb from CougarTown (after Eric kills General Cavanaugh): “Oh my”
  • Pam (when Jess asks to be hidden): “Since when did I become a halfway house for wayward baby vamps?”
  • Elder Fae (in her introduction to Sookie): “Ke$ha – for or against?”
  • Pam (to Jessica after she thanks her for letting her stay overnight in Fangtasia): “Yeah, and maybe later we can braid each other’s hair and talk about boys. F*cking baby vamps”
  • Pam (when Sam asks her to help Luna as they pass in the hall of the Authority compound): “Who the f*ck is Luna?”

Alright True Blood fans, it’s finale time, so let’s make predictions: who lives and who dies? Will the Faeries grow a pair and take down Russell? Is Jason now trapped in some other dimension since he got hit by Elder Fae’s blast? How does Maurella’s baby fit into the picture? Finally, who wins in a physical battle: Salome or Bill? Let’s see your predictions below!

True Blood airs Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO

About cinephilactic

cinephilactic is a university contract instructor in Film Studies. He is an avid TV watcher, particularly science-fiction, fantasy and drama series. His favourite shows currently airing on TV include The Good Wife, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones and a smattering of shows on The CW. He has a tendency to "hate-watch" particular shows and likes to think that his sarcastic voice comes through in his reviews, though sometimes he's just being bitchy

16 thoughts on “True Blood review – 5×11: ‘Sunset’

  1. your dead wrong on your “observation” Its only been a week since the last had sex ant that wasn’t in S4 it was in Episode 4 “We’ll Meet Again” when he and Jason went to the fairy club and he hooked up with Maurella for the second and last time. We were “told” in the season opener that sookie has been missing “twelve and a half months” by Jason at the very beginning of the the First Episode this season. You have a bad retention.

    • I think we’re both wrong, actually. You’re right that Andy and Jason did re-visit the Faeries earlier this season (I had forgotten), but Sookie wasn’t missing between S4 and S5, she was missing for 13 months between S3 and S4!

  2. This season has had a slow build-up, and I believe a lot of what has happened will carry over to S6. I just don’t see Bill (who I think will kill Salome) having sense knocked into him or being beaten/silvered-up by Eric. Bill has always been power hungry and he won’t go down without a fight, so next year will be interesting. This season won’t end with the main problem gone (like with the Minaed (sp?) and the witch) – S6 will pick up nearly everything from this season.

    Getting back to the finale, I really do hope the faeries destroy Russell. Having them stand there helplessly while the Elder Fae was sucked dry was foolish of them. That was probably done for the cliffhanger, and next week we’ll see a major battle. It better be major because Russell is too strong and too insane to be easily beaten. If he goes down easily, it would be so lackluster.

    No, I don’t think Jason is in some other dimension. He’ll just have some bumps and bruises after hitting that tree.

    • Completely agree – instead of hitting reboot every season, it’s nice when True Blood can build on its storylines into the next.

      Also want something epic from Russell. I almost hope they don’t kill him, if only because O’Hare clearly relishes playing the part.

  3. So much cuckoo is going on that I feel completely unsure as to what will happen in the finale. I don’t think we are going to see any main characters die (or tiresome characters – I’m ready for Luna to depart), but someone, or someones, have to be in serious peril for the cliff hanger.

    1. Bill/Sookie: His character has always been searching, so I think his Kool-Aid overdose is par for the course. I think he will snap out of it, but not before more bloodshed. Perhaps someone very important? Oh, Sookie will be fine. She always is, but it would be interesting if they steal a bit from the books and have her confront some seriously frightening faeries.

    2. Sam: Just don’t know how he will get out of this unscathed. Maybe Lunatic will jump in front of him and oops . . .

    3. Pam/Tara/Eric: Surely Eric will rescue Pam. He might have to slide through Fangtasia first to throw some oneliners at Tara since Pam got snatched by the vampiric po-po. Oh, I don’t really care about his incestuous sister. Surely she must die.

    4. Andy/Jason/Jessica: Oh, Andy! This cannot end well. Jason will be fine. Besides, he and Jessica act circles around nearly everyone else anyway.

    5. The Authority: I have managed to lose some interest, although I like the idea that they will collapse from within. Otherwise, I’m sorry that True Blood had Meloni and Mensah but didn’t use them well. Also, Salome’s wig is still distracting. I don’t think Lilith is real, but I do think I hate her merkin.

    6. The Faeries/Russell: Sorry, I abhorred the dancing and the pop references. I just want them to be much more alluring. Instead, I was laughing, even when she died. Long live Russell . . . at least to entertain me.

    7. Lafayette (finally): I love him, but he hasn’t had anything to do for a while, again. His observations are much funnier when he does more than throw three snaps in a circle before exiting stage left. Come on True Blood, give my boy some love!

  4. I was just reading another review where they suggested that Bill is in fact Warlow. It would be an interesting twist and would definitely mix things up for season 6.
    The faeries lack of response to Russell was also really infuriating. I was practically screaming at the screen for at least a few of them to bust out a few faery moves.

    • I didn’t think Bill was old enough to be Warlow and have made that agreement in the 1700s (I believe is the date of the parchment), but I thought the same thing at first too!

  5. Hi, I just finished watching all of season 5 up to this episode (had the episodes saved on my DVR). I had a question while watching this season, and I’m not sure if this has been asked yet, but didn’t we meet Sookie and Jason’s dad at the beginning of Season 4 when Sookie was stuck in Fairyland? During that episode I recall Sookie and her Dad escaping Fairyland just as the fairies were transforming into goblins. When Sookie and her Dad arrived “back” to Bon Temps, they landed at the cemetery where he dies shortly thereafter. Does anyone remember this? This seems to have been forgotten when they developed the Warlow story and him killing the Stackhouse parents.

  6. Just watched this and I still think my original hypothesis is correct: Namely, the whole Lilith business is an elaborate Fae ruse to get vampires to destroy themselves. I’m not sure whether Salome is in on it (and maybe part Fae herself). It doesn’t make much sense otherwise because that’s what the result will be.

    It’s always been true that vampires have a tendency to degenerate into mindless violence and nihilism so maybe finally the Faeries have figured out how to use that for their advantage.

    If so, these Fae are made of sterner stuff than the Bon Temps bump ‘n grinders who are so pathetic and cowardly that I now want Russell to drain each one of them while the others stand in mute terror afraid to fight….

    Warlow, if it’s someone we know, then the jawline in the flashback looked a lot like Bill but that would mean that he’s lying about being turned at Civil War’s end, maybe he pulled the vampire version of a Don Draper? It seems out of character for Eric and any other known character would be a let down.

    Finally: Most intriguing line of the show: The general saying he’d been dealing with Roman for 20 years (indicating the US has known about vamps for a long time and the whole mainstreaming agenda comes from them and not the vampers themselves).

    • I have heard others muse about a Faerie ruse, but I think the Fae have been so clumsily treated that I cannot get behind it. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Salome was part Fae before being turned? All of that dance of the seven veils with Faerie allure behind it would make even more sense in this world. Maybe the blood of Lilith has something to do with Salome’s origin.

      Finally, I wish the scary Faeries were back. I would be a lot more interested in a Faerie ruse if those belligerent faeries were behind it all somehow even though Faerie Land is supposedly closed.

      Maybe Salome doesn’t care about the day because she believes that is the realm of the Fae as long as she has plenty of humans to drink. Maybe those nasty Fae don’t care about the vampires as long as they have their light and can harvest humans for that light fruit. A stretch, but I think the Fae would be more interesting with some internal dissonance like the rest of the groups on the show.

      • I think you and Cliff have far more talent than the writers this season. Both of your ideas are great! I’d much rather see your versions play out than what I think we’ll get on Sunday.

        Prove me wrong, True Blood! Prove me wrong!

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